DMV Employees Arrested in License Fraud Title Washing Scheme

California Department of Motor Vehicles
Media Relations Office
2415 First Avenue, MS F-122
Sacramento, CA 95818
Contact: DMV Public Affairs

May 6, 2010

Los Angeles – Four employees of the California Department of Motor Vehicles were arrested earlier today on multiple counts of fraudulently processing driver licenses and effecting a title-washing scheme that involved several vehicles, the department announced today.

Arrested were Taneika Mashay Lathan, 22; Shavon Renae Shorter, 25; and Kimberly Nicole Sadler, 30, employees at the department’s Los Angeles/Hope Street office; and, Angelina Nanette James, 42, who worked out of DMV’s Fullerton field office. All were part-time employees except for Shorter, who was full-time. All four are Motor Vehicle Field Representatives. Also arrested was Samuel Keith Swayzer, 39, for illegal possession of a firearm and possession of narcotics. Swayzer is not a DMV employee.

DMV Internal Affairs Investigators, in conjunction with investigators with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security Division, served arrest and search warrants at several locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. The four were taken into custody without incident shortly before 8 this morning.

Case Summary
Today’s operation incorporated four separate internal affairs cases involving employee misconduct, two of which involves the criminal investigation of stolen/embezzled high-end vehicles, and the use of fraudulent DMV forms submitted to the DMV in order to further perpetuate the fraudulent activity. The other two cases pertain to the fraudulent issuance of California Driver Licenses, identity theft and illegal use of legal presence documents.

The employees allegedly worked to secure and perpetuate the distribution of fraudulently issued DMV vehicle records, such as a Certificate of Titles to further their criminal subleasing enterprise.

During the investigation, it was determined that the employees, allegedly conspired with a middleman to illegally issue driver licenses. The five co-conspirators would charge $350 to $6,000 to process the applications fraudulently.

DMV Internal Affairs, the CHP and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security Division will continue to follow-up on all leads pertaining to this investigation.

In a separate case, Gonzalo Garcia, 40, a License Registration Examiner at DMV's Hollywood/Cole office, was arrested on four felony counts each for alleged illegal access of DMV computers and falsification of public records. He is being held on $100,000 bail.

The four employees are being charged with 182.1 PC (Conspiracy); 487 PC (Grand Theft); 502 (c) (1) PC (Illegal Computer Access); 68 PC (Bribery); 114 PC (Use of false documents to conceal resident status), and were booked at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Century and Temple Stations. Each is being held on $50,000 bail. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of $5,000 per count and up to four years in prison.

Attention news desk editors: Media requests can be made through DMV Internal Affairs Commander Greg Huber, at (714)780-0569 or (562) 824-8115.

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